Wednesday, 10 August 2011


by Sadanand Bendre on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 12:33pm
Acutally, this happened a couple of months ago…. One or two of my friends know about this but I thought a few more could use the message this story contains.

I went to the nearest petrol pump to get my bike a fill . It’s a place where they have gift shops, a cake shop etc. As my bike was getting filled , I saw a street urchin girl of about my Mukta’s age. 10 /11 maybe. Dirty hair, clothes in tatters, she was staring at a piece of cake on display with such a longing that my heart went out to her. Mind you , she was not begging or being any kind of nuisance to anybody at all. My bike got filled, I went to her and asked her “ Cake khayegi ? She nodded shyly at first and then said “ nahin, nahin”. Her attempt at dignity was so heartbreaking. So I said “ Kha lo , mujhe bhi khana hai “ and bought a piece each for both of us. I quickly finished mine and started the bike. She thanked me with her eyes.

NOW, comes the most interesting part. We have always been told that when one hand gives, not even the other hand should know about it. That a good deed is to be immediately forgotten by the doer. But, it’s a lot easier said than done. We sub-consciously , if not consciously tend to look for some instant gratification from any little good deed we do. I went a few yards away where I could see that girl from but she could not see me. I probably wanted full value of my money by watching the girl enjoy that piece of cake and later on maybe pat myself on the back for it.

She unwrapped the piece , took a bite hesitantly , chewed with great relish, giving me value for each single naya paisa of mine. Then , just after a single bite, she thought for a minute , wrapped it back in the same paper and pocketed it. Now, to see someone covet something with such a longing and then not devour it after having it , probably played spoilsport for me. Something prompted me to go back to her. She gave me a puzzled, even a wary look .

I asked her “ Cake kyon nahi khaya ? Achha nahi laga ?” She had absolutely no reason to feel the guilt that showed on her face.

Hesitantly she said “ Mere chhote bhai ke liya rakha hai” .

Faced with such dignity and such guileless love, my quest for instant gratification died an instant death. Without a word, I bought another piece, handed it to her and off I went without another look at her. How could I accept her gratitude when it was I who was grateful for the lesson on selfless love and innocent dignity ? Being a street-urchin, this kid could have showed some street-smartness and conned me but she hadn’t.

There, that’s about it.

I wouldn’t even dream of insulting your intelligence by telling you the moral of the story, but, for me there was something more than the obvious on offer. Had I acted on the pre-conceived belief of it not being a good thing to expect anything in return for a good deed, and left the scene, I would have missed out on a first hand lesson that no book could have taught me as effectively. So, the bonus moral of the story for me is “ Follow your instincts even against what your mind tells you sometimes. The mind is conditioned , life never is ! Just play the ball as it comes.

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